BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Former LSU head football coach Bill Arnsparger has died at the age of 88, according to family members.
He died at his home in Athens, Alabama. He was born in Paris, Kentucky in 1926, and his family says that he kept a home in the state.
While Arnsparger spent only three years in Baton Rouge, he left an impressive list of accomplishments. He had a 26-8-2 record from 1984-86, his teams finished second in the SEC, twice and won the conference in 1986. This was the Tigers first conference title since 1970. His first team represented the SEC in the Sugar Bowl, because then-SEC champ Florida (who the Tigers had tied 21-21 in their second opener) was ineligible.
The Tigers lost to Nebraska 28-10. His 1985 team was 9-1-1, losing only to Florida, then losing to Baylor in the Liberty Bowl 21-7. The 1986 Tigers had Tommy Hodson and Mickey Guidry playing quarterback. The Tigers secured their run at the championship with a victory over Alabama in Birmingham 14-10. Arnsparger's teams never lost to the Tide, going 2-0-1. After another Sugar Bowl loss to Nebraska (30-15), the Coach left LSU to become Athletic Director at Florida. He stayed in Gainesville for six years, hiring Steve Spurrier while there.
Arnsparger was head coach of the New York Giants for almost three years, going 7-28. He was let go after an 0-7 start in the 1976 season. Despite the setbacks, he had already built his reputation as a defensive genius in the NFL, and added to it following his time with the Giants. He spent most of his NFL years as defensive guru of the Miami Dolphins He served two stints, one under Don Shula. As an NFL assistant, his teams played in six Super Bowls.